In Memoriam – Banjara

Khalid “Banjara” Chaudhry died in Karachi two days ago. Inna lillahi WA Inna Ilaihi Rajioon. It is said that the cause of his death was a heart attack. The news was sudden and unexpected and it has deeply saddened us all.

About a year ago, Khalid started to contribute regularly to Soach and his SoachCasts rapidly became a very popular and anticipated feature at the website. Since I had known him, he had been an ardent poetry fan. He knew classical and contemporary, minor and major and local and global Urdu poetry with equal deftness. When he recited the poems, he breathed a personal touch into them that nobody else could.

Recently he moved to Pakistan. Back in April when he was about to move I talked with him at length. He told me that he was not happy in Canada despite a secure job and a good life. I guess “Banjara” was missing his roots. He was also very excited about his new job at SIUT. He said that it would give him something more purposeful and fulfilling to do. I talked with him for the last time about a week before his death not knowing that it would be our very last conversation. He told me that he was very busy but happy. He was doing something he had always wanted to do – help other people especially the ones who had nowhere else to go. We had a lengthy talk and he told me about what was going on in Pakistan in general. He was not exactly thrilled with the cultural and political direction the country was taking but he still was very optimistic. Such was Banjara – he never gave up.

Someone once said that the only certainty in life is death. It seems so true today. For if someone like Khalid, who was so vivacious and full of life is gone then anything in life is possible – however uncertain or unexpected it might seem. A while back, he recorded a poem by Ibne Insha. We would like to post the same poem in his memory. May Allah have mercy on his soul. Ameen!

Click below to listen to a piece recited by Banjara.


This entry was posted in Back Home, Immigrant Issues and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to In Memoriam – Banjara

  1. umar daud says:

    Good Bye Khalid. We will miss your laugh and energy.

  2. Tahir says:

    A distributor of happiness. An individual full of life. Very frank, bold and fearless; he passionately meant what he said and knew what he was talking about. “What you see is what you get” type personality. A thinking mind and a very sensitive soul. He loved poetry, admired Shahid Masood and Dr Israr Ahmed, and was fond of traveling and exploring. Although we had spent time together in Aga Khan University, Karachi, I came to know him more closely after moving to Canada. I invited him to PEI. He drove his trailer from Ottawa to St Johns Newfoundland (2700 km) with his wife and 3 yr old Seenan (his other travels included Vancouver (4,600 KM), and Orlando FL (2300 km)). “Its a good family time” he used to say.
    They visited us on the way back from St Johns. Kids were excited to see the huge travel trailer. “Why dont you sleep here tonight” Khalid asked my two sons
    referring to the trailer parked in the drive way. “YEEAAH” . At dinner all he ate was Dal-Chawal. He lived in Canada for many years, adopted to the lifestyle of Starbucks coffee, personalised car number plate, his own website etc etc. But the moment he speaks out, you knew he was the same Banjara who was deeply connected to his roots and was most at ease while helping others. He surprised me earlier this year when he announced he was going back. “I have decided to give it at least ten years” showed his conviction. We used to talk about it as an option -just like with all the other friends. I didnt realise this was Banjara – who meant what he said -period.

    Khalid has lived a full life and left deep impressions on everyone who new him. His loss is simply unreplenishable.
    May Allah keep him happy in the next life as he distributed happiness and comfort to all he knew in this life.

  3. Ahmad Hassan says:

    Though I never met Banjara, but developed sort of some association with him at SOACH. The news of his death come as a real shock. I don’t know why, but rarely has death of somebody, who I have not met, saddened me that much. Perhaps, this is the first time a “colleague” passed away due to a natural cause, which forced me to think that it could as conveniently have been me — or, was there something else in Banjara, I don’t know !!

    May his soul rest in peace,

  4. Uzair says:

    I am dumbstruck, I can’t seem to find words that would express what I feel.

    I lost a friend who was more than a friend, a brother, he was always Khalid Bhai for me. Today is third day since I got the news. Today, I know he has gone back to where all of us have to go but I still can’t beleive that I am not going to see him any more in this life.

    He inspired me in more than one ways. I tried to compete with, always failing the effort, to see more places and experience whatever is there to experience. Many a times he encouraged me to jump into unknown and trust the instincts and get through the situations.

    Who am I going to bicker back and forth about Zia Mohyuddin’s recitation of Faiz, or Ibn-e-Insha’s poetry or this or that……..

    He was loved and respected and he will always be in the hearts of people. May Allah give him place amongst the annointed and His loved ones – Ameen.

  5. Faisal Shah says:

    Khalid bhai “Banjara” was not only my brother in law, but also someone I inspired to emulate. I had a pretty dull and boring existence in Toronto, until Khalid bhai arrived in 2000. At first his humor was hard to understand but slowly and surely I became accustomed to his comic style. Then soon after his arrival he moved to Ottawa for his fellowship.

    In Ottawa, we had some unforgettable times, I tagged along with him to Detroit, Chicago and Florida. All these trips were full of adventure. Khalid bhai not only inspired me but also my other friends, pakistani or non-pakistanis alike. He incouraged me to take chance in life, and experience new things.

    When they decided to move to Pakistan back in May, I was sad but wanted him to be happy in whatever decision he choose. Then I decided to follow him and visit him and arrived in Karachi to spend the Eid-ul-Azha with him. Little did I kno w that when I would get back from Lahore he will be no more.

    I have lost a friend, mentor, and a great brother in law. As I write this comment from khalid bhai’s computer my heart and mind is still in the state of shock and disbelief that he is no longer with us. I cherish every moment that I spent with him and memories he has left behind. Now when I look at Seenaan his son and when he makes certain gestures and comments they are a pleasant reminder of Khalid bhai’s presence.

    I could go on and on about him…but one thing I have to say

    I will always miss him and May Allah give him peace.

    Faisal Shah

  6. Ngoga says:

    Dear Faisal and Family,

    My sincere condolensces at your loss. In the short time that I knew Khalid Bhai, he left me with an impression of a renaissance man, smart, witty and good family man.
    My heart goes out to his brother in law Faisal, our friend Rakah Khalid who loved him so dearly and also to his wife and son.

    Stay strong, my prayers are with you.

    Ngoga Higiro

  7. Imran Tahir says:

    Sometimes your paths cross in life with certain few for a short period of time and those certain few leave the life time impressions. Verily Khalid Bhai was one of those very few !

    I have always regarded people in the highest esteem from whom I have managed to learn even a single word of wisdom and knowledge. And these were in abundance of offering in my brief association with him during my school days in Ottawa.

    He always used to say to me “Khush Raho.”

    Today I wonder how can I in general and his family in particulalr remain Khush while his departing has left a gaping hole in our lives. His untimely death has left us all, speechless and grieved !

    May he rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with Saboohi and rest of the family.


  8. Noor says:

    I am one of those individuals who had known Khalid for a very long time. I still remember the day when I met him for the first time back in the days when we were in the 9th grade. I was studying in Karachi Cambridge School in Nazimabad. He moved from another school. Initially nobody paid any attention to the “new kid”, however, he immediately grabbed every one’s attention when he introduced himself as “KMC” (the same acronym as used for the infamous Karachi Metropolitan Corporationl). Soon he became popular as a no-nonsense, straight-talking, witty and humorous “new kid on the block”.

    I have spent so much time with him through various phases of his life that it really hurts me to realize that he is gone. In a way we grew up together. When he abruptly (as usual) decided to move to Lahore to pursue his Medical degree at the King Edward Medical College, it caused a storm in his home. His parents and brothers did every thing to persuade him to stay in Karachi. But they knew, as well as I did, that when he decides to something, nothing can change his mind.

    It will need many days to document all the memories that I have of the time that I spent with Khalid. Whether it be the memory of the time when he bought a python and kept at his place in Lahore while studying Toxicology at King Edward or of the time when Khalid and I enjoyed eating the savory “Siri Paye” on the footpath of the erstwhile Jubilee Cinema in Karachi.

    It’s true that during the course of time, when he got married and later had a son, and after some time I got married as well, we didn’t have the same frequency of interactions with each other as we used to, however, I never felt any change in the warmth of our friendship. His father had known me since Khalid and I became friends back in the 9th grade. When I got the shocking news of his father’s sad demise, a couple of months ago, I spoke with Khalid after a long time. Little did I know that that would be my last conversation with him.

    Goodbye, my friend. May Allah rest your soul in peace (Ameen).

    Saboohi Bhabi, Seenan and Faisal,
    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. May Allah give courage and “Sabar” to all of you.


  9. Dr.sumayia says:

    khalid chachu…. an excellent son.father, husband,brother and my dearst chachu. Though life doesnt gave me alot of chance to spend time with him but i cherish those momonts we spend toghether. I was very happy to know that chachu had decided to come back and was very excited to see him after 12 years. But if it would have known that he is coming back to leave us forever i would have never been so happy. I still remember the day when he kept me hungry for the whole night just to eat out at heydrabad. I learned how to live life from him, his humrous comments on every thing and i still wonder how he took everything so easily in life.I didnt know much about him i think my self lucky as i met him duing the last days of his life. No one can take his place but i aim to continue his work and his inspration throug out my life. I cant forget his last words when he asked me to stay with him and he wished us all to leave for a holiday in muree. i wish i would have stayed with him. Wish i can bring him back at any cost for my family, for my dad ,for his wife,and my little cousin seenan and especially for myself. I still cant believe that life is so uncertain. he is gone but his name is stil alive and will be forever for we will continue his work……….. inshallah. we all miss u alot khalid chachu………

  10. Azam says:

    Khalid was just like my brother. I will always miss him.

  11. Qaiser M Choudhary says:

    My dearall who knows Khalid, Today on 14th January is his 41st Birthday. Do promise me from the depth of your heart that today atleast once you will pray dedicatedly to Almighty Allah for my beloved brother Khalid. I have no words more to write to pay tribute for such a diversified and multiskilled person, with full of life and enthusium. I wish if I could bring him back to celibrate his birthday occassion with me.
    Unfortunate eldest brother of deceased Khalid BANJARA from Kuwait

  12. Daay says:

    I still can not believe what has happened.

    Today is his birthday….I don’t recall that we ever celebrated any birthday together……. but celebrated life together…..whether it was trekking in Pakistan or spending vacations in Lahore while staying in his small KE hostel room or sitting by FDR road in Manhattan and watching 4th of July fireworks…. I miss this guy…..

  13. Faraan says:

    Khalid’s patent signature….first book he gave to me “Khumar-e-Gandum” by Ibn-e-Insha

    Uss Kaay Naam
    Jiss Ka Naam
    Diya Jala’aay
    Subh o Shaam

  14. Although I never met Khalid Banjara, the news of his death was quite shocking for me. As I was traveling in December, I did not follow the SOACH postings. A few days before, from Zulfiqar’s posting regarding SoachCAST, I come to know that Banjara is not with us anymore. He was blessed with a passionate voice and his poems always touched me. I listened to his poems several times, especially Ibn-e-Insha’s poem. Further, I feel bad that I never appreciated his postings, while he was alive. It is strange that there are so many “good” things we want to do but they remain in queue. Life is very precious, indeed.

    I pray that Allah (SWT) may reward him high ranks in paradise (ameen).


  15. Today i completed my first year of bds programme. chachu will be so proud of me. He always wanted to see me among the best dental suurgeons. Too tough life,feild and task he choose for me. Today I am missing him a lot and sincerly need his advice for pharmacology……………………………………………………………………..

  16. Z Rana says:

    Good Luck Sumayia,
    Khalid was always very supportive of endeavors like this. I am sure he is proud of your accomplishment!

  17. Adnan Afzal says:

    Khalid was definitely a unique individual. I always wish, I could be more like him. He will always be in our memories. He left a lasting impression on most of the people, he came across.

  18. dr sumayia says:

    i miss u chachu…………….

  19. Sabrina says:

    In loving Memory of my husband, Khalid Murtaza Chowdry

    I had never met a person like Khalid, until I got married to him. For our honeymoon he took me to trekking in Northern Pakistan. It was quite scary for my family to say the least, as they didn’t hear from us for the duration of the trip. However, my family soon realized that Khalid was a very different husband in a very traditional sense of the word.
    Khalid believed in living life to the fullest and creating the means to enjoy life every moment. Money or no money he believed that attitude was more important. He showed me the meaning of life which I had never experienced even living in Toronto, Canada. We experienced life together in places where only few can experience in their life time. From living in Gilgit to eating friend fish in Jamshoro to Universal studios in USA to Vancouver, BC. We experienced it all. My family adored him and he provided guidance to all of my family with his quick wit and solutions. He had a solution for everything and didn’t hesitate to share it.
    Those who knew Khalid describe him as one in a million; it’s very hard to find such a well rounded person who excelled in every area of his life. Today I wish that Khalid was around to see Seenaan our son grow up to be man just like him. How I feel is hard to describe but it can be summarized by this poem which I came across the other day…

    I don’t know how to feel
    it’s all locked up inside,
    the emptyness is waking
    the tears are running dry.
    Your the one who held me
    gave comfort when things went wrong,
    what do i do without you
    I feel my faith is gone.
    My heart just doesnt realise
    that you are really gone.
    A loss that came so suddenly
    but will last my whole life long.
    Our time just meant so much too me
    I know it allways will
    the memories locked inside of me
    forever to hold on too
    You told me that we’d be,
    together forever more
    partof eachothers lives
    but now the door is closed.
    Never too be opened
    kept locked on both sides now
    Although you may have gone away
    your spirit will forever stay

    For my husband Khalid “Banjara” Chowdry I loved your integrity, for the honorable path you always took against all odds. I loved your strength for you were the wind below my wings. I loved your free spirit for the adventures and excitement you brought to my life. And more importantly, I loved your love, for it makes me strive to become the best woman, and a mother to our lovely son Seenaan.

    With love always, your wife Sabrina.
    cell 647 328 5697

  20. Pingback: For Banjara « Soach

  21. Syed Ali Imran says:

    I was jst going through the comments posted for Mr. Khalid (May his sould rest in peace…Aameen) and I concluded that nobility will always remain. I just lisstened to the lines he recorded and got mesmerized by his voice, voice of a pure person who must be genuine by heart and deeds. His sad demise is surely a great loss for his family and friends for some readers like me as well who looks for Urdu Poetry lovers like him. I’d like to dedicate a couplet by Mir Taqii Mir for Mr. Khalid

    Mujhe ghuroob na jaano jo mein ufaq pe nahi
    Bikhar gaya hoon mein andheron mei kehkashan ki tarah

  22. sumayia says:

    today on my birthday i miss chachu alot………………

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s